ICANN Board press to continue processing of the .AMAZON applications despite ACTO deadlock

ICANN has moved a step closer to delegating the .amazon top-level domain to Amazon, the online ecommerce company, after 7 years of negotiations with South American governments, who have been lobbying against the approval, saying “seven years is sufficient time for the parties to reach a reasonable resolution, and in the interest of continued fairness of all parties, it is now time to move forward.”

In the past ICANN’s efforts to broker a peace deal between the regional Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO) and giant online retailer Amazon have aborted. Such includes the meeting had been planned longside the 21st meeting of the ACTO countries in Bolivia.

At their board meeting on 15 May, the board directed ICANN “to continue processing of the .AMAZON applications according to the policies and procedures of the New gTLD Program. This includes the publication of the Public Interest Commitments (PICs), as proposed by the Amazon corporation, for a 30-day public comment period, as per the established procedures of the New gTLD program.”

The ecommerce company made a number of concessions to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) member states – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela – in an attempt to come to a solution that could benefit both parties. On 17 April the ecommerce company made a proposal that ICANN has now found acceptable.

The April 2019 proposal included commitments by Amazon including the creation of a joint Steering Committee as well as to:

  • “Not use as domain names in each .AMAZON TLD those terms that have a primary and well-recognized significance to the culture and heritage of the Amazonia region;
  • Provide nine domain names in each .AMAZON TLD to be used for non-commercial purposes by ACTO and its member states to enhance the visibility of the region; and
  • Block from all use up to 1500 domain names in each .AMAZON TLD that have a primary and well recognized significance to the culture and heritage of the Amazonia region”.

There has been a significant push and pull before this resolution and even now ICANN board admits in its resultion that

As of today, two months from the Board’s March 2019 resolution, ACTO and the Amazon corporation have been unable to come to a mutually acceptable solution or agree on an extension of time for continued discussions. In light of this, the Board is now moving forward with the next steps laid out in Board resolution 2019.03.10.05 and is directing ICANN org to continue processing the .AMAZON applications toward delegation.

It is not know what will come of this step since it is apparent that ACTO has not given its feedback yet.

Amazon was one of the largest applicants for new domain names, but its .brand strategy was slowed down when governments opposed its .amazon application, it then went for ICANN Independent Review Process IRP and just like its counterpart .Africa it won. Amazon’s applications had been rejected after ICANN accepted Governmental Advisory Committee consensus advice.  That advice, which lacked any rationale, had been implemented basically at the lobbying of Amazonian counties Brazil and Peru, two countries through which the Amazon river flows.

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